From Publishing Perspectives:
There were several key messages highlighted in the UK’s third conference on Building Inclusivity in Publishing, presented by the London Book Fair and the Publishers Association on London’s South Bank on Tuesday (November 27).
. . . .
- Inclusion should be a given, not an exception
- Unpaid internships should disappear completely
- Publishers should establish “safe places” in which conversations concerning issues like identity can take place
- Children’s publishers need to recognize how important it is for black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) children to see themselves in books
Self-defined “queer working-class woman” Kerry Hudson—whose memoir Lowborn Growing Up, Getting Away, and Returning to Britain’s Poorest Towns is to be published February 5 by Penguin Random House’s Chatto—noted that strides have been made to improve inclusion.
One example Hudson pointed to is the Good Literary Agency, specifically set up with the purpose of reaching marginalized voices, for example—but she also pointed out that a recent report funded by the the Arts and Humanities Research Council and titled Panic! 2018 Social Cass, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries (PDF), suggested that only 12.6 percent of employees in publishing are of working-class origin.
“Marginalized writers aren’t looking for a scheme or a month of open submissions when for the rest of the year they feel as isolated and overlooked as ever,” Hudson said.
“We want an industry where inclusivity is the norm and not the shiniest new project. The aim must be not for superficial changes but actually changing the bones, the very structure of what this industry is. That means moving away from pilots, meetings, and mission statements and looking at how to roll-out, scale up, and truly integrate these principles.”
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives
PG suggests that traditional publishing is built upon a foundation that is exactly the opposite of inclusive. Publishing drones sift through the never-diminishing slush pile looking for the rarest of manuscripts. They automatically exclude 99%+ of the voices who want to be heard in the broader society.
One might argue that the principal value of traditional publishers for most readers is to create an exclusive collection of books that will appeal to those readers. If a publisher doesn’t exclude manuscripts its readers will, for whatever reason, not enjoy, the costs of publication, overhead, etc., will quickly exceed the publisher’s income and the publisher will disappear.
Self-described “curators of culture” can’t open the gates to just anyone without failing in their curational role, the only value they provide in a world in which self-publishing is becoming more and more widely accepted.
One might also ask if traditional publishers are providing a useful service to marginalized authors by inviting those authors into a business structure in which, “Don’t quit your day job,” is the most common piece of honest advice publishers give to debut authors.
Isn’t Kindle Direct Publishing “actually changing the bones, the very structure of what this industry is” to a far, far greater extent than conferences held on London’s South Bank?
Won’t more marginalized authors succeed in sharing their unique viewpoints with the world by self-publishing? Won’t most marginalized authors find a life as a professional writer easier to attain by selling their work in ebook form on Amazon?